ATLANTA, GA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Saturday that Police Chief Erika Shields has resigned as calls for her firing built following a police-involved shooting at a fast-food restaurant. The Georgia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) demanded that Shields resign after an officer fatally shot 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks on Friday during an altercation in a Wendy’s parking lot.
Brooks, a black man, was shot after police were called to the restaurant at 125 University Ave. for a complaint of a man sleeping in a vehicle parked in the drive-thru, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
“I do not believe this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer,” the mayor said, at a news conference just after 5 p.m.
“What has become abundantly clear over the couple of weeks in Atlanta is that while we have a police force full of men and women who work alongside our communities with honor, respect and dignity, there has been a disconnect with what our expectations are and should be as it relates to interactions with our officers and the communities they are entrusted to protect,” Bottoms said Saturday.
Bottoms said Shields offered her resignation, which she accepted. The city will launch a search for a new police chief.
“Chief Erika Shields has been a solid member of APD for over two decades, and has a deep and abiding love for the people of Atlanta. Because of her desire that Atlanta be a model of what meaningful reform should look like across this country, Chief Shields has offered to immediately step aside as police chief so that the city may move forward with urgency in rebuilding the trust so desperately needed throughout our communities,” Bottoms said.
In a statement, the Georgia NAACP said the Atlanta Police Department has “a history of antagonizing our Black communities,” and the city “must address this not only with their words but also with their actions and budgetary decisions.”
The group also started a petition to demand Shields’ resignation.
“This uprising has been a result of the inabilities of elected officials to ensure proper judgment necessary to arrest, indict, and convict officers who repeatedly murder innocent, unarmed Black bodies. The Atlanta Police Department continues to terrorize protestors and murder unarmed Black bodies,” the statement reads. “It’s time for new leadership and a change of policing culture. Stand with us and call for her immediate resignation.”
According to the GBI, officers attempted to arrest Brooks after he allegedly failed a field sobriety test. But he resisted and a struggle ensued, leading the officer to deploy a Taser.
The GBI said witnesses saw the man grab the Taser away from the officer.
“It has also been reported that the male subject was shot by an officer in the struggle over the Taser,” the GBI said in a statement.
Brooks was transported to a local hospital where he died after surgery, the statement said.
Police have not released the name of the officer who fired the shots.
Andrea V. Watson contributed to this story.